UN data: Global patent filings drop nearly 2% as innovation falters

UN data: Global patent filings drop nearly 2% as innovation falters

/ 07:27 AM March 08, 2024

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FILE PHOTO: The United Nations headquarters building is pictured with a UN logo in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

GENEVA — Patent filings slipped last year by nearly 2% in the first fall in 14 years amid economic uncertainty, the U.N. patent agency said on Thursday, in a move it described as “concerning”.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, reported 272,600 filings in 2023 which was a 1.8% decline from the previous year.


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The top two countries China (69,610) and the United States (55,678) both reported fewer filings than 2022, falling 0.6% and 5.3% respectively. In the case of China, it was the first drop since 2002.

“I think it is really a broader reflection of what’s going on in the innovation economy. And I think to some extent, it is concerning…,” WIPO chief economist Carsten Fink told reporters.

“Innovation, technological progress is what generates future economic growth, future jobs, and I think, policymakers need to make sure that there is an innovation ecosystem that is vibrant and…generates the, the seeds of future growth.”

Japan and Germany, number 3 and 5 in the rankings, also filed fewer applications in 2023 although South Korea which is ranked fourth had a slight increase.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty which has 157 signatory states allows inventors to seek patent protection simultaneously in a large number of countries. It accounts for around 60% of non-resident patent applications, WIPO said.

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